An eighth location of the coffee shop and wine store Barriques is slated to open on Madison's Near West Side this spring.
The location at 2505 University Avenue -- on a street many still refer to as "Old University Avenue" -- has been in the works for more than three years, said Matt Weygandt, who owns the local chain with Finn Berge.
The partners have had a signed lease for almost two years, or well before the coffee bar 5th Element Coffee went in across the street, Weygandt said. He prefers to say the new shop will be across from Lombardino's.
"We always liked that general part of the city and felt like ... it was just a good fit with the type of folks who generally come in to our spots," Weygandt said.
They liked the proximity to UW Hospital and all the density that exists along the corridor, particularly all the student housing in the neighborhood, he said.
The build out has yet to start, but Weygandt and Berge hope to open by the end of March. The developers took a couple of buildings down and the whole project took a lot longer than anyone expected, Weygandt said.
The Korean restaurant New Seoul used to be in the same approximate location.
An EVP coffee house nearby on Highland Avenue, facing the InnTowner hotel, closed in 2006 and that location is now part of a new development.
EVP had done well, neighbors have told him. "That was an added level of confidence that that area could be good for us," Weygandt said.
He noted that they might not have signed a lease if 5th Element had been around at the time. 5th Element opened in June 2015.
"The reality is that we were committed to this thing and I think our lease was actually signed by the time they got open. There's really nothing we can do about it at this point," Weygandt said.
He added that the two coffee shops don't have much in common. "What they do and what they are good at and their focus really is different enough from us. I think we will both be able to do fine."
The newest Barriques will be the smallest of the locations at about 1800 square feet. It will offer the full menu of food options, and most closely resemble the two most recent locations, Park Street and Atwood Avenue. "It will kind of follow the same format," Weygandt said.
Weygandt laughed when asked if there are now more Barriques locations in the Madison area as there are Starbucks.
"Madison has been pretty good to us," he said, noting that there are few other parts of the city where they think they could do well.
No other future locations are being planned, but at the same time, Weygandt isn't ready to say this will be the last Barriques location because Madison's growth in the past 10 years has really amazed him.
"You never say never," he said.